Looking to perfect your still-life drawing game? This easy Procreate tutorial is here to help! Read along for a simple yet comprehensive step-by-step guide on how to draw grapes digitally using iPad Pro.
Digital drawing continues to thrive as an exciting medium in the world of art. Many famous illustrators have created truly remarkable work using Procreate on iPad Pro, and now it’s your turn to try out the amazing tools this artistic medium has to offer.
This realistic grape drawing Procreate tutorial will break down the process of illustrating on a tablet and set you up with the basics of this amazing app. We’ll use how to draw grapes as our example!
How to Draw Grapes: Drawing on iPad
I’m a Toronto illustrator who specializes in book illustration, portraiture, editorial illustration and exhibition design. Over the last few years the digital medium has become an important drawing tool for me and a integral part of my illustration process overall.
If you are new to digital drawing I am sure you’ll be amazed, both by how easy it is to pick it up, and by the new range of drawing potential it provides. Creating illustrations of everyday things around your home, like a grape, with an Apple Pencil on iPad Pro, allows for new and advantageous ways of creating layers, texture, and dimension, and is also really quite fun.
Sketch Realistic Grapes At Home
One of the best ways to become an expert on how to draw grapes is by visiting your local produce shop. You’ll find a variety of grapes from classic green and red to concord.
Grapes can be eaten fresh as table grapes, used for making wine, jam, juice, jelly, grape seed extract, vinegar, and grape seed oil, or dried as raisins, currants and sultanas.
The Middle East is often described as the homeland of grapes. The cultivation of this plant began there 6,000–8,000 years ago. Yeast, one of the earliest domesticated microorganisms, occurs naturally on the skins of grapes, leading to the discovery of alcoholic drinks such as wine.
Purchase a variety of shapes and sizes as it helps make a still life fruit drawing more interesting. Be sure to arrange the grape clusters on your kitchen counter to photograph in ample natural light.
Grape Drawing Procreate Tutorial
When it comes to fruit, nothing says luxury like grapes. In Western culture, the grape has a symbolic, and in some cases even religious significance (Dionysus, Ancient Greek God of wine I’m looking at you). For me they conjure up images of muscled servants fanning and hand-feeding a reclined aristocrat. Wealth and abundance. Feasts of plenty… and Fruit of the Loom.
Romanticism (and underwear) aside, the grape is a long-cultivated and prized fruit, enjoyed fresh, pressed, and famously in its fermented form. Grapes have also long been a favourite subject of still-life drawing. With their multi-coloured, shiny and glistening skin, rendering a grape is excellent practice in detailed observation.
Luckily for you Procreate makes recreating telltale grape features in your drawing fun and easy. And this Procreate tutorial will break down the process into separate steps that will have you creating a still life grape masterpiece in no time.
Not to mention, the Procreate methods you’ll practice using in this tutorial will create the benefit of adding many exciting new tools to your art arsenal!
Procreate Tutorial: How to Draw Grapes with iPad Pro
Let’s first get set up with a new canvas in Procreate. When you first open the app you’ll be in the “gallery” where all of your artworks will be visible. Tap the “+” in the top right of the screen and a menu will appear where you can select your canvas size.
To choose your dimensions click “create custom canvas” and enter them (in mm, cm, inches, or pixels). You can simply select “screen size,” however I recommend going bigger so that you have the option to print your finished piece with a nice resolution.
For my grape drawing I’ve created a 11″ x 14.5″ canvas. I’ve gone with a resolution of 300 DPI, which allows for up to 35 layers. If you go too big the maximum number of layers you can have in your artwork can be too few for our purposes, this is a good size.
Now it’s important to explore and familiarize yourself with Procreate’s basic tools. Starting with the toolbar on the top right of your canvas.
- The Brush Tool: This is the tool with which you draw/paint. Tap it to open your Brush Library. Procreate’s brushes are categorized in a list down the left side of the drop down menu. Tap any of these to see your brush options in each category. Choose what you like and then tap the brush icon in the toolbar again to close the menu. Now get scribbling! Try a few different brushes and use different pressures and angles of the Apple Pencil – it’s remarkably realistic in its response to your hand.
- The Eraser Tool: It does exactly what you think it does! Tap it and you’ll open an identical Brush Library as tapping the brush tool. Try a few and see how it erases your scribbles.
- The Colour Tool: This is your colour palette. Tap and it will open in its default view of “Disc.” Use the outer wheel to select colour, and the inner circle to select lightness/darkness. Or you can use the square view that combines the two. When you’ve chosen the colour you want to use, tap the colour icon in the toolbar again to close the menu. Again, do some scribbling! Choose a variety of brush and colour combinations to get a feel for the colouring process.
- The Smudge Tool: This is used to blend colours and create gradients. This tool has the same effect as taking your finger to pencil on paper and rubbing it to blend. The smudge tool mimics the real thing fairly well but it does take some getting used to.
- The Layers Tool: You can use this menu to create multiple layers on your canvas, and select between them. How to do this, and the benefits of layers, will be best understood by following through my own example here in this Procreate tutorial.
Then there are the slider toolbars on the left side of your canvas.
- Brush Size: The top slider. Tap, hold and move up and down to adjust the size of your brush tip. A preview window will open up to help guide you. This slider is used for your brush, smudge and eraser tools in the same way.
- Brush Opacity: The bottom slider. This works the same way as the brush size slider, but is for brush opacity.
- Undo/Redo: Under the sliders you’ll see these two buttons. Tapping the undo button will undo the last stroke you drew/erased. Vice versa with the redo button. This is a very useful tool you’ll probably use a lot. You can also undo by tapping once anywhere on your canvas with two fingers.
There is also the toolbar in the top left of your canvas. For these tools I will point them out and explain them along the way as we need them.
How to Draw Grapes Step One: Choosing a Reference Photo
If you can take your reference photo yourself, great. You can use the iPad itself to capture a good photo.
If you don’t have any grapes handy, there are plenty of images online for you to choose from. It’s a good idea to chose one that is copyright free and there are several websites that have large libraries of free images.
I took my reference image myself in my kitchen. I chose a red seedless variety, and I included a small signature “bunch” still with their stems. I added a couple of loose grapes to round out the composition, as well as one grape cut in half to show the texture inside.
The kind of grapes I had have a beautiful variety in tones of colour, and I made sure to select a bunch that showed a nice variety of such. I also made sure that some light reflected off the juicy interior, to emphasize the wetness.
The first thing to do before you get to drawing is setting up your reference photo to work from. A great option with iPad Pro is that you can keep your photo open in a window beside your Procreate canvas while you work.
To do so, tap and hold the bar at the bottom centre of the screen in Procreate, then slowly pull up the iPad menu (if you swipe too quickly you’ll close Procreate).
Once the menu is up, tap and hold the photos icon, and drag it to the left side of the screen (or right side, for the lefties out there!) Pull it past the edge of the Procreate window and drop it there and tada, you have both open at the same time. You can also adjust the size of the photo window by holding and sliding the side bar of the window.
How to Draw Grapes Step Two: Blocking Your Shapes
Now you are set up to start drawing grapes!
The first step will be blocking out the shapes of the individual grapes with a solid colour. For this I used the studio pen brush under “inking” in the brush menu, because it gives a nice clean line.
To determine which colour to use, I took a look at my grape reference photo and tried to match it generally to the darkest colour tone of the berries. Normally with fruit you don’t have to be completely tidy with your shapes, but some grapes tend to be quite round and symmetrical. I trick you can use is to draw an oval shape and then keep your pencil tip down when you finish. After a second or so your shape will snap to a smooth curve. Amazing!
Once you have a fully enclosed shape, you can fill it in with solid colour by tapping and holding the colour icon in the top right, and then dragging it to the inside of your shape and releasing. The shape will then fill with that colour. Make sure your shape is fully enclosed or the “fill” will fill the entire canvas. If this happens just tap your canvas with 2 fingers to “undo.”
You may find it helpful to separate these shapes onto separate layers. For my drawing, anytime a grape was touching another I would try to make sure they were on separate layers. I ended up with 3-4 layers of grapes, which also coicided with how close of far back they were from the camera. This will make painting and editing them much easier down the road because you won’t have to worry about your painting bleeding from one grape to another.
To create a new layer tap the “layers” icon in the top right menu, and then tap the “+” in the drop down. You can tap and hold any layer in the menu and drag it above or below other layers. I did my layers in subtlely different variations on the same colour, just to help me visualize what grape was on what layer.
You can adjust the size and position of different elements in your blocked shapes by utilizing the “lasso” tool. That is the tool in the top left menu that looks like the letter “S”. Tap it, and then make sure “freehand” is highlighted in the bottom menu. Then you can use your Apple Pencil to draw around the part you want to adjust.
One you’ve traced around that portion, tap the cursor tool in the top left menu and you’ll see a bounding box appear which you can use to make adjustments. For example, I adjusted the size of a few of my grapes after the fact, making them smaller or in some cases rounder.
How to Draw Grapes Step Three: Underlying Gradients
Now that you have your base layers of colour you can start “painting” and adding layers of colour to build up the texture and details of your grapes. Take a good look at your reference photo and try to see the underlying gradients of light and dark tones beneath all of the finer details.
Before you begin though, Procreate has a feature that makes this painting and blending part a lot easier, called the alpha lock. If you “alpha lock” a layer, you can only paint on what already exists on that layer. Meaning when blending out some colours you don’t need to worry about your smudges coming past the edges of you blocked out shape.
To alpha lock a layer, open the layers menu. Using two fingers, swipe the layer you want to lock to the right. If you’ve done it successfully the layer thumbnail will get a checkered background. To un-lock the layer at any point simply swipe it with two fingers to the right again.
Now you can get to painting. For my drawing I started and completed each grape one by one.
For this part you do not necessarily need to be very tidy with your painting. You can roughly paint out lighter and darker areas and then blend and smooth them out using the smudge tool. I would recommend using the smudge tool somewhat sparingly though. The different red, purple, orange and grey tones on the grape skin is quite patchy and overly smudged blending would look too smooth.
For this part I chose the “gouache” brush under “painting” in the brush menu, just because it seemed to mimic the texture of the grape skin. Feel free to use whichever brush suits you though.
Feel free to experiment with different brush tips for different effects. Or even just changing the brush size for some nice variation in texture. For example, to create some of the spotty patches, I selected the “wet acrylic” brush, and played with the brush size to gently add some of the rougher texture to the skin.
Play around until you have a gradient of colour that primarily creates a three-dimension look when zoomed out. Remember all of the crisp and fine details will be added on top once you are finished this part.
During this step it’s a good idea to work generally from darkest details to light. Meaning you finish off with the shiny highlights. To create a realistic shine, zoom in and really look at the reflective area.
There are often colours in there you may not expect. For example a lot of my grapes had two separate shine spot where light reflected. Usually one would have a yellow tone and the other a pinky, purply grey. Build up the highlights saving pure white for only the brightest bits and spots.
How to Draw Grapes Step Four: Finer Details
Once you have the underlying changes in tone finished on the grape skin, you can next put in the crisp details, like the shine points or skin spots. You may want to do these details on a separate layer so that you don’t disturb the carefully crafted gradients underneath. I used the same gouache brush to draw this part, just shrunk down to the smallest brush size.
You can then switch back and forth between the skin layer and the detail layer to keep drawing until you are happy with the result. Remember it is often helpful to zoom in quite close on both your drawing and on the reference for this part.
The final details to add are the small dark dot where the blossom once was, as well as where the stem was attached for the loose grapes.
How to Draw Grapes Step Five: Repeat!
Now that you have your process down for drawing your first grape, you can go through and repeat this process for all the rest of the grapes in your drawing. I decided to focus on one layer of grapes at a time, but you can complete them in whatever order you like. Remember every grape is unique, but as you go along you will get faster as you can “borrow” colour tones from grapes you’ve already finished.
If you like a colour tone in your drawing and want to select it again, tap and hold the screen with one finger. A circle will appear that you can slide around until you are over the colour you want. Once you release your finger that colour will be selected for you to draw with again.
How to Draw Grapes Step Six: Open Grape
When it comes time to paint the grape that is cut in half, the process of observing, painting, and blending is mostly the same as it was for the whole grapes. One trick that is very helpful here though is drawing with the lasso tool. For the cut grapes there is a very clean and distinct line at the edge of the skin and the interior. Using this technique will allow you to blend out and draw each of those areas freely and separately without affecting one another.
Start by tapping the lasso tool and then draw around the interior portion of the shape. Then tap the “brush” tool, and voila, you have your isolated portion of that layer to draw upon. Once you’ve finished painting and blending out that portion you can use the same method to trace out and isolate the skin.
How to Draw Grapes Step Seven: Underlying Grapes
Once I was finished all of my blocked out grapes, I realized there were a couple grapes underneath the rest mostly in shadow. Rather than draw yet another two grapes from scratch I utilized a little cheat that is possible with digital drawing.
What I did was make a copy of one of my existing grapes and rotated it, so that it didn’t look exactly the same.
To do so, choose the grape you want to copy. Select the layer upon which that grape is drawn. Next select the lasso tool again, and draw around the grape you are copying. Once you’ve done that tap the “copy and paste” option in the bottom centre menu. Procreate will copy your selected grape and add the copy to its own new layer. Tap and hold that layer in the layers menu and move it below your existing grape layers.
Then you can select that new layer and move your copied grape into place by tapping the cursor icon in the top left menu. You’ll also see the option to “flip horizontal” when the cursor is selected so you can flip and/or rotate. Whatever it takes to make it less obvious that it was a copy.
I did that twice with two different grapes in order to fill in the space in the middle below all the foreground grapes.
How to Draw Grapes Step Eight: The Stem
Now that your grapes are all finished, it’s time to tie them all together with your grape stems. For these the process is the same as for the grapes. Start by blocking out the shape of the stem in a generally green colour using a clean-edged brush like the “studio pen” under “inking.” I drew my stem on a new layer on top of everything else.
Next, alpha lock the layer, and then you can go to town adding the colours and details to the stems. Here is where it is very useful to zoom in closely on your reference photo. My stems varied in colour from green to beige, to brown and black.
You may find if you zoom out again on your drawing, you get the effect of the stem looking real without having to do much blending, since the area is so small.
How to Draw Grapes Step Nine: Shadows
Finally, to complete the drawing I added some shadows to ground the grapes.
For these, it’s first important to choose your background colour, because your shadows will be a darker shade of that colour. You can do so by opening the layers menu and tapping the “background colour” layer. I chose a pale orange colour because I thought it complimented the red and purple tones of the grapes nicely. But this part is up to you, so choose whatever colour you like!
Now to do your shadows, once again start on a new layer positioned below the grape layers. Draw out your shadow shapes with a clean-edged brush (like the technical pen) and fill them in with a dark, nearly black shade of your background colour. Then you can use the layer’s opacity to make them slightly transparent to let the background colour come through.
To do so, open the layers menu, then tap the “N” on the shadow layer. Then you can adjust the slider to the transparency of your liking. I also used an airbrush eraser to create the subtle variations in darkness in my shadows.
And voila! Your finishing touch is done.
- To return to a colour you’ve already used, tap with one finger on the area with the colour you want to reselect, and hold. A magnifying circle will pop up and you can move that to the exact colour spot you want. Lift your finger and it will select that colour for your brush.
- You can zoom in and out by “pinching” the screen with two fingers. Don’t forget you can zoom in for areas with small details. You can also rotate the canvas using the two-finger pinch (rather than turning the iPad itself around, an inevitable habit when you’re used to turning your piece of paper around – there is an easier way!
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You’ve Completed our Realistic Grape Drawing Tutorial!
You’ve now mastered how to draw grapes!
If you’re someone who draws or paints a lot, you know it’s possible to keep going and going and tweaking and tweaking into eternity. And truthfully Procreate makes falling into this even easier.
The up side, however, is that you can leave the piece alone for a time, and then very easily pick up where you left off, without having to get all of your paint and supplies out.
All that said, you will know when it’s done, and for a satisfying finish to your digital drawing experience, you can utilize one of my favourite Procreate features – time lapse video.
By default, Procreate records your entire drawing process (you can opt to turn this off, but really why?) You can play it all back in high speed when your drawing is complete. It’s a fun thing to watch and a fantastic thing to share with curious fans of your art.
If you’re a freelance illustrator, find that offering a time lapse video of your clients’ work acts as a competitive advantage. And better yet, offering a video that showcases the creation of your grape drawing requires no additional time or money.
By using this Procreate tutorial as your step-by-step drawing guide for how to draw grapes, I’m sure you will be very satisfied with your result. Once you’ve gone through the motions from start to finish you can experiment and settle into your own process.
This medium has so many possibilities that you can really let your creativity run wild. So dive in, go digital and have fun!
Best Illustration Apps
This story offers a step-by-step Procreate tutorial on how to draw grapes. It’s important to note that there are several other drawing apps you can use on iPad Pro when drawing grapes. Here are just a few:
- Notes: The Apple sketch app that comes with your iPad! Simple, easy to use for quick sketches, free and fast. Though for serious drawing you may want to seek apps with more robust options/tools. Price: FREE
- Adobe Illustrator Draw: This app is for creating vector graphics, with a very intuitive interface. It can also sync with Adobe’s Creative Cloud, meaning you can transfer your work between the iPad and desktop no problem. Price: FREE with Creative Cloud subscription, monthly plan prices vary.
- Inspire: Fast and nicely responsive, with a huge variety of customizable tools, and over 80 brushes. Great for beginners and intermediates alike. Price:$13.99 CAD, $27.99 for Pro Version.
- Procreate: Easily one of the most popular drawing apps, it works seamlessly with Apple Pencil, is highly responsive and offers an excellent variety of tools, all presented in a terrifically simple interface. Price: $13.99 CAD
Procreate Tutorial: The Benefits of iPad Pro
- The process is very similar to drawing using traditional methods on paper. You’ll be delighted by how intuitive it is, and how for the actual drawing part, you don’t need to re-learn anything.
- Streamlined process. All of your supplies – camera, reference photos, paper, pens, pencils, eraser, pencil sharpener, paint and paint brushes, are all combined into one place – iPad Pro and the Apple Pencil.
- The ability to undo when your pen stroke wasn’t quite right. You can also edit certain elements after the fact. The thickness of that piece is too much, I don’t quite like the colour I used here. All of that can be fixed!
- The ability to work in layers, drawing or colouring over or under certain elements without worrying about accidental erasing or colour contamination.
- You aren’t tethered to your desk, you can get comfy and work wherever you like. And that includes outside your own home too.
- Easy transferability/sharability of your art. Your finished product is already in a format that you can add to your illustration portfolio online, share on your social media, etc. No need to arrange a high quality scan or professional photograph.
- The ability to replicate elements, (for patterning, for example) rather than needing to hand-draw the same thing over and over.
If you’re a freelance illustrator looking to up your game, getting familiar with this medium will benefit you tremendously. And if you are an amateur who just loves to draw, looking to have fun creating grapes or other still life drawings, iPad Pro and Apple Pencil can help you do things you might not have thought possible.
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